The American Dream: Equality and Opportunity for EVERY American

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Unkept promises diminish day by day. What once may have given people ambition and zeal has transformed into a superficial and consumerist ideal. In the nation’s youth, the American Dream was a promise to the people which has failed to impart its values to future generations. This promise traces back to the foundation that “all men are created equal” and Dictionary.com’s first definition defines the American Dream as “the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American.” This is closest to the originally intended meaning of the American Dream which perhaps only a minority of the population still recognizes. Politics and economy have contributed to the significant change in meaning and threaten to even further devalue it.

In the beginning, everyone had to put in effort to achieve their goals. This has not changed. However, these goals became more materialistic as people began to expect certain things to be entitled to them simply because of their designation as U.S. citizens. The original definition is inclusive to a wide audience, Americans, but general enough to allow broad interpretation. To each person this dream was meant to be personalized, but over time tangible derivatives of “freedom, equality, and opportunity” triumphed over the individual’s effort to reach goals within these ideas. At one point, a specific dream could have been the chance to provide for a family through pure and honest work, something unimaginable to some people no matter how much effort they put in. Today, many dream of being the latest contestant on “Deal or No Deal”, an even easier “get-rich-quick scheme” than “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”. Instead of quality and diligence, more and more American...

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For the nation to carry out the true intentions of the American Dream, the mindset of each person has to be changed. Once people begin thinking about a greater cause, the betterment of the nation in addition to their own lives, freedom, equality, and opportunity would once again be available to every American. However, the current rise in consumerism in everything from basic needs to Christmas threatens to completely kill the American Dream. Newer and more innovative things are constantly being created and push this consumerism to higher levels. People may never return to the ethos that hard work and quality of life will lead to happiness. Selfishness and greed are overpowering. However with luck, people may stop simply interpreting the American Dream as materialistic entitlement, but instead as the inspiration to work towards a better future as it is meant to be.

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